Peaceable Kingdom

By Sydney Lea

Does anyone not dream of heaven?
After the quarrel, he wishes his own could land at his feet.
He’s on foot. As he passes the round Shaker barn on Route 7,
On an April afternoon of what’s called unseasonable heat,
His eyes alight on two ravens, crisp contours obscured
By the asphalt’s shimmer. They gorge on a flattened hare,
Winter pallor vanished but for some streaks in the clotted fur.

In heaven, we know, there is no loss,
No accident, everything knows its way.
The carnivores lie down with the herbivores.
It’s a famous claim. By extension, no snowshoe hare ever strays
Into traffic—or if it does, it arises—and raptors
Feed on seeds, and a wife and husband never
Battle, and Pharaoh’s armies all long since have drowned, each soldier

Rolling up and back in the ocean’s rote,
His eyes rimed innocent white with salt.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/08/peaceable-kingdom/308567/